Pros and Cons of Using a Paper Planner


Paper planners are now considered the “old-school” way of writing down appointments, to-do lists, reminders, and more. However, they are still very valid even in this world of electronic devices with every imaginable scheduling app you could ever want. As with anything, there are pros and cons to using a paper planner.

Using a paper planner makes it more likely to remember what is written down, and more time will be taken to plan out the day. However, paper planners aren’t always within reach, so anything written down is harder to get to. It also doesn’t have an alarm that goes off as a reminder.

For a full list of pros and cons of using paper planners, information about exactly what makes a great planner, and the negative aspects of using a paper planner, keep reading below.

Pros and Cons of Using Paper Planners

Pros

  • No eye strain from using a screen
  • More likely to remember what you wrote down
  • Able to create more personalization with art, lettering, stickers, etc.
  • No distractions from electronic devices, social media
  • There are so many to choose from, so likely to find one that works well for you
  • No learning curve, you can begin using right away
  • You don’t have to worry about your device crashing and deleting the planner
  • There is no chance of accidentally deleting any information that you wrote down
  • Some are undated so you can start at any point in the year

Cons

  • You always need to have a pen, pencil, or marker handy
  • They can be expensive
  • They are not always customizable, so may not include what you need
  • Customization options (if possible) add to the cost
  • Mistakes are harder to get rid of / cover-up
  • You may be limited to the number of lined/blank sheets for journaling
  • They can get damaged or lost
  • If you keep the planners each year, you will need a space dedicated to storing them
  • You can’t reuse them, so there is the cost of buying a new one each year
  • They are harder to take along with you
Erin Condren LifePlanner

Is a Paper Planner Better Than Digital?

To go along with the pros and cons listed above, it is clear that paper planners are great for remembering what you need to get done, but are they truly better than digital planners?

Almost everyone can use a paper planner with ease. They have been around for many years and pretty straight forward (for the most part). There are some planners that get pretty fancy and add more than you would ever need, but that can often be modified to fit your needs.

A digital planner on the other hand is not simple to use. They often come with lengthy instructions or a video to explain how to use it, what all the buttons do, how to get to pages that would otherwise be hidden, and so on.

You can’t just pull a sticker off of a sheet and put it where you want. There are tools/apps required to move the stickers around, and sometimes even just to use the digital planner, which not everybody can get access to.

Deciding whether a paper planner is better than a digital planner is truly a personal preference. For pros and cons of digital planners, check out my other post.

To determine if you would prefer a paper planner, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you enjoy writing in general?
  2. Are you more of a visual person?
  3. Do you like to add your own touches (artwork, stickers, fancy writing)?
  4. Do you like the feel of a pen in your hand?
  5. Are you faster at writing down notes on paper than on the computer?
  6. Do you find that you remember more when writing things down than typing them into an electronic device?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a paper planner is definitely for you.

For me, I have always enjoyed writing ideas, plans, schedules, etc. down on paper. I am much more likely to actually remember everything if I put pen to paper. Plus writing down goals and daily tasks really forces me to decide what is important, when I want to complete them by, and it keeps me more accountable.

Putting something into an electronic format has its benefits, but it’s often done so quickly that not a lot of thought or planning really goes into it. Therefore, it is way more likely that the information will get lost in a sea of other online tools and you’ll miss an important appointment.

Why Should You Use a Paper Planner? 

I recommend that everybody use some kind of planner for tracking important dates at the very least. This could even be just a simple calendar.

However, a planner provides more than just calendar spaces to fill in. You can write all appointments, meetings, to-do lists, budget (expenses & savings), meal planning, track exercises, water intake, sleep, periods, and so much more, right in your planner.

Read more here for more information on what to put in your daily planner.

You may have already been trying to track all of this in different formats. So why not put everything into one book format so that it is all at your fingertips?

So do planners really help?

Absolutely! If you are trying to hold everything in your mind and expecting to remember it all, I hate to break it to you but it’s not going to happen.

Life gets busy with just everyday stuff, so we’re very unlikely to remember the exact day and time that something is scheduled for.

Planners help with not only remembering important dates but also making sure that you are not booking two (or more) things at the same time.

It would be really unfortunate if you had a doctor’s appointment scheduled but you forgot to write it down, so you then also booked a hair appointment.

Having to cancel one appointment last minute could actually end up costing you money for a late cancellation. So it’s not just about saving time, it will also help your bank account to be more organized.

Planners are also helpful for planning out tasks, like cleaning. I like to block out some time with specific cleaning tasks that I want to get done that day.

This means no looking at social media, no answering phone calls, no responding to emails during this time. I have scheduled that time only for cleaning, so no other distractions (other than my kids asking me questions all throughout….).

If you struggle to get your exercise in, this is another great reason to actually schedule in some time. Find one hour in the day that you have nothing else planned and write “EXERCISE” in that hour. You will be more likely to actually complete your exercise for the day because you have made that commitment in your planner and to yourself.

weekly paper planner

Are Paper Planners Worth It?

I have another post that goes into great detail about why planners are so expensive.

They are most definitely worth the price when you consider how organized you will be, how much time it will save you, and the stress it will take out of your life having everything written down.

Planners are also a great creative outlet and even a journal if you want. If you love writing down fun parts of your day, or if you like using stickers or creating your own art, a paper planner is going to give you way more options than a digital planner.

Despite many planners being expensive, there are definitely different price ranges. However, with the lower cost also comes lower quality and fewer customization options.

Some great weekly/monthly planners in different ranges are:

Have you ever wondered what makes Erin Condren planners so expensive? If so, check out my detailed post about whether Erin Condren planners are worth the price.

In Summary

Whether you choose a paper planner or a digital planner is a personal preference. However, there are many benefits to actually writing things down. Both for helping to put it deep into your memory and for creating effective schedules for yourself.

I hope this post has made it easier for you to choose your next planner! Don’t feel that you have to move digital just because it’s the new trend. Use the planner that will make you the most successful.

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